Shocking gamer confession: I’ve never actually played the more difficult “second quest” in the original Legend of Zelda until this week!
No more! I’m now happy to say that I’ve finally truly experienced all that this pioneering title has to offer and I did it without reference to any outside material: No maps, hints, walkthroughs, or anything else. Just pure exploration. Sure, finding dungeons six through eight was a challenge, but it was more than worth it for the awesome satisfaction of finally bombing just the right cliffside or burning just the right bush, and I wouldn’t trade that time I spent lost in Hyrule for anything. Looking at horribly misguided reviews online for this amazing masterpiece make me so glad that my old guy gaming experience has equipped me with the ability to actively enjoy not having a big glowing map marker telling me where my next objective is at all times.
I’ve also noticed people often write off the combat mechanics in the original Zelda game as overly simplistic and point to various sequels as the point where it got good, but I can tell you one thing: Being sealed inside a room full of darknuts or wizzrobes (especially the dreaded blue ones!) when you’re low on health is one pulse-pounding affair. The action here may be basic on a surface level, but it’s as tricky and compelling as it is simple.
Sometimes it really is about the journey and not the destination.
(Originally written 3/4/2017)